Things can’t be all that good for your team when they feel like they might have to leave home to get back on track. Every team, even the true contenders, go through bad spells. If you don’t believe it, just read NBA.com and every other site that pays any attention to NBA basketball. Why watch soap operas when you can just keep up with what’s going on with the Lakers? It’s just another reality show. But with the Hawks, it just feels different. How do you lose a home game to a team with a worse record by 34 points, then follow it up with another loss at home by losing a 22 point lead?
Denial is an ugly thing
Josh Smith talks about a chance to bond. Honestly? How much more bonding can you do before you realize that some parts simply don’t fit the way you need them to? This team doesn’t need to bond. They don’t need to gel. They don’t need to find an identity. They don’t need a shock either, or any other cliche. What they need is an operation. A transplant. Something that wasn’t there before, but is needed. The problem is, you have to first accept that you’re missing something, or that whatever you had has gone bad. Then, you have to act on this knowledge. Does management know that something is flat out wrong? Is the front office willing to accept that idea? Most fans are tired of hearing “we’re keeping an ear out and an eye open for any deals that may come along.”
You know what? That sounds like you’re doing something else, but you’ll try and take notice if an opportunity to improve the team happens to come along. Gee, there must be a lot of people in need of suing, or something…..
What’s the worst that could happen?
Maybe management should have asked that question once it was decided that Mike Woodson wouldn’t be the coach of the team anymore, and the “search” for a “new” one was on. Maybe management did ask that question when deciding to promote Larry Drew, instead of trying for someone from outside the organization. Maybe I have the question wrong. Maybe it should have been “what’s the best that can happen?”
Of course, asking such questions would insinuate that Larry Drew is part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, right? Well, that depends on your perspective. Drew brought forth the idea of the motion offense, yet the team continues to have inexplicable collapses in the second half of games. Drew preached accountability on defense, yet the Hawks succumb to penetration from the perimeter on a regular basis. Drew said this, Drew said that. Now he is doing things that seem in direct contrast with what he said before the season began, and making phantom tinkerings with the lineup. Yeah, the Hawks could have and maybe should have hired a guy from the outside to coac this team. But how much difference would it have made? Maybe no more than changing a dirty oil filter on a car that really needs a few engine parts replaced.
A pointed issue
There is a good deal of unrest about the point guard situation for Atlanta. Sports writers will typically bring up the 2005 draft when broaching the subject, but the past is indeed the past. The Hawks can’t get better defense out of Mike Bibby or Jamal Crawford, and they are easy targets when either is not shooting well. The obvious solution to some is 2nd year point guard Jeff Teague. But what has Teague done that makes him a solution to an ongoing problem? Perhaps that question need not be asked, and we find ourselves back with another one – “what’s the worst that could happen?” Maybe Drew sees this sooner rather than later, and decides to play the guy. Why? Because by now, the point is not longer about whether or not Jeff Teague is the solution for the Hawks, in the areas where Bibby and Crawford fail. The point is that the Hawks need to know what they have in Teague, and whether or not he can be developed into something they can use. If not, then he’s trade bait. In addition, the Hawks must get to where they are no longer relying on a super-sub shooting guard to be their savior when their top scorer is off his game, or when their starting point guard can’t get it done. I mean seriously, relying on a streaky scorer who can’t defend, to save you when your back is against the wall? Who’s idea was that?
Two games east, five games west. This could get really ugly for the Hawks, or we could be left shaking our heads and wondering how a team this good can be this bad at time, as they roll to a winning total on their road trip.
Well, it all starts in Detroit. Talk about bad memories, when the Hawks last played there (December 14th) they lost by 23 points. Of course, Joe Johnson was out with injury, but that wasn’t all. Atlanta got ripped by Detroit’s bench, beaten like a drum on the glass, and had an epic fourth quarter collapse. Fact is, the Hawks only played one winning quarter out of that whole game. Now, with Joe back in the fold, can they get revenge and start this trip off right?
By Big Ray, Hawks Fan Nest Blog